11 May 2022News

Ireland's first AI Ambassador is announced

Ireland's first AI Ambassador is announced, at St. Josephs , Fairview.

The Government has appointed Ireland's first Artificial Intelligence Ambassador.

Businesswoman Dr Patricia Scanlon is taking up the role and will be tasked with communicating with businesses, schools and institutions about the benefits and risks of AI.

She is the founder and Executive Chairperson of SoapBox Labs, which uses artificial intelligence in the development of voice and speech recognition applications designed for children's voices.

From robots and facial recognition software, to social media apps and streaming platforms - AI is playing an increasingly significant role in people's lives.

There are ethical concerns about the technology when it comes to privacy, surveillance, bias and discrimination.

There are also fears about the impact automation will have on unemployment in situations where workers are replaced by machines.

The Government said its new AI Ambassador will lead a national conversation on the role of AI in people's lives, emphasising Ireland’s commitment to an ethical approach to the use of the technology.

Dr Scanlon was announced as AI Ambassador by Minister of State Robert Troy at an event in St Joseph's Secondary School in Fairview in Dublin.

"AI can bring great benefits to our society in areas such as healthcare, climate action and education," said Mr Troy.

"It is important that we look at all aspects of the technology so we have a full and informed understanding of how it will impact of lives from now and into the future," he added.

The position of AI Ambassador was filled following an open expression of interest call and assessment process.

"Artificial Intelligence already influences many facets of our daily lives and has the power to deliver an enormous and positive impact for both businesses and society once the benefits and potential risks are understood," said Dr Scanlon.

"I see a clear opportunity for Ireland to become a leader in advocating for and adopting an ethical approach to AI, that puts humans first," she added.

Dr Scanlon takes up her appointment immediately and will work with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on a schedule of engagements in her new role.